The weekend is past. Saturday we went to see the Met Opera Simon Boccanegra. No overt sex, but lots of innuendo tantamount to incest. Then there was intrigue, revolt, and regicide. Tonight, we watched Partenope, a Handel opera; as I have said before Handel is pure sex to music—or pure music to sex, if you prefer it that way. A queen, a jilted lover, and lots of counter-tenors with high voices in love. Traitors or infidelity, pure and simple.
Then in between all this weekend opera, I “consulted” to a young man who is doing his PhD at the University of Alberta in covering oil sands tailings with coke and sand and applying a vacuum to the coke to induce consolidation of the tailings–hopefully to get some consolidation of the tailing and hence gain of strength sufficient to support traffic. It is a good idea, but totally impractical in practice. Shame on the leaders of research who have induced an innocent to undertake the impossible. I gave him good old fashioned consulting advice: plan the project so that you can succeed. In other words, make sure that you have five things going on simultaneously. Accept that four will probably fail. Bet on the fact that at least one idea will succeed, and then you can claim victory. Not a bad way to undertake a PhD!
It is kind of the same in opera: try to regain the love of your unfaithful lover; sing a great deal about it; and if you fail, demand his head on a platter. Regardless, include a good sextet, and all is well.
In addition to promising sex, violence, and eroticism, and boasting the lead role of Salome as the cult-favorite soprano, Francesca Patanè, daughter of famous Italian conductor Giuseppe Patanè (who tragically died in 1989 while conducting Il Barbiere di Siviglia at the Bavarian State Opera), there has been scripted a fifteen-minute prologue which will display, “due Salome al prezzo di una. E tutt’e due nude,” which reads, “Two Salomes for the price of one, and both are nude.”
Keep in mind the puritans (Republicans?) kept the opera off the New York stage for twenty-seven years. Beware of Tea-Party affiliates–they will try to mould you to their narrow perspectives, in opera and mining.
Many years ago, I bought a VHS tape of Salome, the opera. It had a label” “Beware–Adult Content.” Weeks later, having noticed the tape had been opened, I was told by my son who said to me: “Dad, that is the silliest thing I have ever seen. The girl I brought home to watch it and I sat through long singing and no sex.” That is the perspective of the young, bent on the adult content of the old. Thankfully, he married some other girl who likes opera, particularly Carmen and Lucia Borgia.
The young man doing his PhD, whom I helped this weekend to plan and plot his thesis laboratory and field work, was dragged by me to see Simon Boccanegra. He had never seen opera, but in deference to me, he watched, and said he enjoyed it. That is good, for the more young men & women in the mining industry we can get to enjoy opera, the better. They too, like Goldcorp, might come to support opera. And that is a blessing, for opera is not “high culture”. It is simply life lived for the day–pleasure for today with the perspective of a greater good lived in accordance with human nature (sex if you will.) So too is mining: life lived for the day with the perspective of the greater good that comes from the benefit of honest work and tangible products that make life livable.
PS. Advice: Take neither opera nor blogs seriously. They are both but fun for fleeting pleasure and maybe lasting insight.